In the last few years, one of the signs of spring for me has been the approach of the Chapter’s Executive Board Midyear Meeting, with the MLA Annual Conference soon to follow. This year, the Executive Board met on March 30th in Indianapolis. In one brief day, we managed to catch everyone up on what the officers and committees have been doing and agree on what needs to be done before the next time we meet in October.
An overarching theme from the Midyear Meeting was how we can encourage members to be more active in the Chapter. One thing that almost always works is, of course, money. No, we can’t really pay you to take part, but we might be able to make it a little less financially onerous or even a little bit financially rewarding!
The first financially rewarding opportunity you will see will be the Research Awards to be handed out at next fall’s meeting. Judges will select two research-based papers and two research-based posters for the awards, using criteria based on study design, validity, reliability, presentation, and implications of the research. The first- and second-place papers will be awarded $200 and $100 respectively, while the first- and second-place posters will receive $125 and $50. Read more about the awards in Ruth Holst’s article in this issue of MIDLINE. Watch the conference website for further details.
Another idea that is being explored and which will be presented to the Executive Board in the Fall is how the Chapter might support more members for attendance at the Annual Meeting. Currently, the Chapter supports two awards of $500 each to encourage library science students to attend, plus two $500 Professional Development Awards aimed at first-time attendees. But we would like to help out other members, too, and the Awards & Scholarships Committee has been charged with exploring this.
Finally, we are looking at how we fund attendance at the Midyear Board Meeting. Although we had eleven members attend this year, there were at least two Board members who could not attend because the current reimbursement rate doesn’t covering travel from the farther corners of the Chapter. Most members who were present footed at least part of their bill themselves. Although we have explored methods of virtual attendance, the Board only meets twice a year and membership changes each year. With infrequent meetings, face-to-face gatherings result in more participation and more productivity. And since the purpose of the Midyear Board meeting is solely for the good of the Chapter, it seems like the Chapter could make a better effort in funding! I have set up a special committee to look at how we currently fund Board member travel, how other chapters do the same, and how we might do it more efficiently.
For more information about what went on at this year’s Midyear Meeting, see Past President Clare Leibfarth’s post on ConnectMidwest. And if you are lucky enough to be going to Seattle for MLA, feel free to flag me down to say hello!